What is bullying?

Bullying happens when one child has a wish to hurt another child, then goes ahead and does things to hurt them, usually over and over again, so that the child who is being hurt becomes afraid of the child doing the hurting. Often the child doing the bullying has more power than the child being bullied, through age, size, social status, or a power imbalance in the relationship that may happen as the bullying goes on.

Bullying can happen in private or in front of others, and it can also happen between groups of children. Bullying can take the form of verbal, social or physical abuse, or it can happen electronically by email, texts, social media, websites or phones.

Resources and links

If bullying situations are not stopped by adults, the children involved may learn that this misuse of power is normal in relationships, which can cause all kinds of problems in future relationships e.g. dating abuse, domestic abuse, elder abuse, etc.

Schools are responsible for keeping their students safe from any bullying that affects their school community. Region of Waterloo Public Health department, in cooperation with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and the Region of Waterloo District School Board, has produced a manual called "Imagine...A School Without Bullying: A School Climate Approach to Bullying Prevention" and many other resources to help school communities address bullying prevention and intervention. To view these resources, please visit https://www.wcdsb.ca/our-schools/bullying/

School boards also have policies and procedures to guide their responses to bullying situations. To see these policies or find out who to contact at the board, please visit:

If you are looking for someone to do a group presentation, local counselling agencies and the John Howard Society offer such services.

Other recommended links

  • Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/
    This easy-to-use website is aimed at children and youth. They can directly call or email trained counsellors to talk about being bullied or about what to do in a bullying situation. The information section is divided into "Kids" and "Teens" sections, but the resources can be helpful to parents and caregivers as well.
  • WAYVE - Wellness Acceptance Youth Voices Empowerment http://wwd.cmha.ca/programs-services/wayve-wellness-acceptance-youth-voices-and-empowerment/
    This website lists local resources for people who want help dealing with bullying or who want to learn more about bullying resources locally.
    WAYVE is a program created by youth, for youth in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It is a peer-led prevention program in schools that responds to needs identified by students. WAYVE team members offer support to peers and community groups through education and awareness of local resources.
  • Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence http://www.prevnet.ca/ This website can be considered the authority on bullying related research in Canada. The information comes from expert researchers at 25 Canadian Universities who are partnered with 52 national organizations. This site has many resources and fact sheets that can be downloaded free of charge. Information is targeted to kids, teens, parents, educators and other adults.